Bill McKibben: Days that Suck

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"Bill McKibben: Days that Suck"

(A response to the “No Pressure” Video)

Bill McKibben “” some-time guest blogger and the author most recently of the must-read book Eaarth — has asked me to post this response to a noxious video that some irresponsible folks in the UK put together.

I just climbed off an airplane at Boston’s Logan Airport. The day began in Monterrey, Mexico–and though I was tired, I was also feeling pretty good. Our big day of action on October 10th has been building to a crescendo: we yesterday broke our record from last year, registering more than 5500 actions for the big Global Work Party.

But I’d barely turned on my computer when that good feeling turned to a kind of quiet nausea. There were emails from people all saying the same thing: Have you seen this? This was a gross video making its way around Youtube, purporting to show people being blown up for not believing in climate change. It’s been “pulled” from Youtube by its creators, the British climate group 10:10, but of course nothing is ever really “pulled” from Youtube. If you want to watch it bad enough, I’m pretty sure you can find it. Or you can look at the stories by climate deniers assailing it as the latest example of eco-fascism.
The climate skeptics can crow.  It’s the kind of stupidity that hurts our side, reinforcing in people’s minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we’re out-of-control and out of touch — not to mention off the wall, and also with completely misplaced sense of humor.

We put out a statement at 350.org saying we had nothing to do with it–we didn’t see it till it had made its way around the web, and as soon as we did we let people know we thought it was disgusting.  We’ve known the creators for years–they put out a statement apologizing for their lapse. But it’s the kind of mistake that will hurt efforts. What makes it so depressing is that it’s the precise opposite of what the people organizing around the world for October 10 are all about. In the first place, they’re as responsible as it’s possible to be:  They’ll spend the day putting up windmills and solar panels, laying out bike paths and digging community gardens. And in the second place, they’re doing it because they realize kids are already dying from climate change, and that many many more are at risk as the century winds on. Killing people is, literally, the last thing we want.

There’s no question that crap like this will cast a shadow, for a time, over our efforts and everyone else who’s working on global warming. We’re hard at work, as always, but we’re doing it today with a sunk and sad feeling.

– Bill McKibben

JR:  The video is beyond tasteless and should be widely condemned.  Individual anti-science, pro-pollution disinformers, of course, routinely promote hate speech but you rarely see anyone on their side denounces them.  I’m speaking of people like Anthony Watts, with his utterly offensive comments on the Purported eco-terrorist who was shot and killed by police.   And of course there’s the Swift Boat smearer (see “UK Guardian slams Morano for cyber-bullying and for urging violence against climate scientists“).  And the worst of all is Lord Monckton (see Monckton repeats and expands on his charge that those who embrace climate science are “Hitler youth” and fascists).

None of this excuses that disgusting video.  But the difference is that those who are trying to preserve a livable climate and hence the health and well-being of our children and billions of people this century quickly denounce the few offensive over-reaches of those who claim to share our goals — but those trying to destroy a livable climate, well, for them lies and hate speech are the modus operandi, so such behavior is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Please keep the comments civil.  And no, I’m not linking to the video.  You can find it only if you want.

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130 Responses to Bill McKibben: Days that Suck

  1. MapleLeaf says:

    Bill, was the video ever intended for release? Perhaps it was not and someone leaked it to sabotage 10:10?

    I can’t see how the higher-ups would sign off on that? I smell a rat.

    [JR: Wasn't Bill's video. He had nothing to do with it. I believe it was up for a short period of time.]

  2. I have not seen the video and have no intention of doing so. But I think we all have to realize that the situation is going to get a lot uglier over the next few years. The stakes are just too high, and the emotional level of both sides too elevated for this not to get a whole lot more complicated and nasty. I speak not as an expert on climate change but as a professor of Modern International History and Politics.

  3. Richard Brenne says:

    I regularly eat lunch while working at the computer, and that video doesn’t do a lot for your appetite.

    I’d just like to see all of us get on the same page. If the filmmakers – who evidently have a lot of talent and budget, though terribly misdirected in this particular case – had come to Bill or Joe or ideally both with the script or concept, I’m sure either or both would have said, “You know, this is really going to play into the hands of the most rabid deniers, and do far more harm than good. Could you deep-six this and send me your next concept?”

    Bill, Joe and others have the most sophisticated understanding of the psychology of all that we’re up against. So sometime after 10/10/10, which I wholeheartedly support, could we discuss coming together in some way where one group is not shooting another in the foot, or as in this video, worse?

    I’m sure the filmmakers feel beyond terrible about this, because their hearts seemed in the right place (unlike their characters’). Everyone makes mistakes. A malicious motive is far different from a misguided one like this. I would like to welcome these talented filmmakers into the fold with open arms – and greater guidance in the future.

  4. Peter M says:

    Fascism is a word I have used here much

    most of the deniers now called(Eco- fascists) I have seen ally themselves with the vast cadre of other political & economic fascists in the USA and around globe today.

  5. Robert P. says:

    I’m with MapleLeaf. I smell a very large rat. Do we have confirmation that 10/10 higher-ups signed off on this? I’m guessing there is more to this story than meets the eye.

  6. Abe says:

    I did watch the first section of it, just to know what I’m talking about. I smell a rat too, but I also know that some people are starting to feel desperate, and it sometimes seems that immediate, personal shock is the only way to get a message across. Personally I repudiate that theory, but I know it’s not uncommon and it drives me nuts.

    On one level, it doesn’t matter if this is a plant. It should be roundly condemned for what it is, no matter who made it.

    If you want to look at a cost-benefit analysis of doing so, then fine.

    If it’s not a plant, then claiming it is only looks like you’re trying to avoid condemning your own people, and you’re trying to protect people who shouldn’t be protected.

    If it is a plant, then you condemned it from the beginning, and it just re-enforces what the condemnations showed – that we don’t support that kind of thing.

    Either way, it doesn’t matter, except that it’s the right thing to do.

    Tracing the video’s origins is also good, so that we know if it WAS a plant or not.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    Queensland -

    In the 120 years that rainfall records have been kept in Orion near Springsure, this year sees the highest for the month of September at 378.6mm (14.9in.). Previously it was only at 197.6mm in 1917 and the average for the month of September is 29.8mm

    http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2010/09/29/3024809.htm

    Australia has had its wettest September in history, smashing a century-old record with almost three times the long-term average rainfall for the month, latest statistics show.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/september-the-wettest-on-record-20101001-1610d.html

  8. Inverse says:

    What comes around goes around, listen to yourselves… you are becoming everything you hated about skeptics when they were the underdogs….

  9. Rob Honeycutt says:

    I don’t think there’s a rat behind this. Bill says himself that he knows the creators and they have apologized for their lapse.

    But, my fear is that video very much plays into the unfounded paranoia of the climate denier community.

  10. JM says:

    If you’ve ever seen PSA’s in the UK (or elsewhere in Europe), this kind of gore is not at all unusual.

  11. Heraclitus says:

    You’re all reading way too much, or possibly I mean too little, into the motives of this. I think it was aimed at a younger, cynical audience and the intention was the initial shock value would then lead to people actually thinking about the message behind it. It shouldn’t take any thinking person long to realise the message is not ‘if you don’t agree with us we’ll kill you’, but the process of trying to work out what the actual message is, and the disquiet this process engenders, would then, hopefully, get people who are currently disengaged engaged. Whether it would have been successful at that I don’t know – I guess will not get a chance to find out.

  12. That reminds me. In January last year I did a spoof promotional video on the Heartland Institute’s International Conference of Climate Cranks — and uploaded it to my own YouTube account. About a week later, it somehow appeared on Heartland’s own site as a serious promotional video. Good days. :-B

    Anyway, can anyone first at least confirm whether the YouTube account of the offending 10:10 video really belonged to the British 10:10 group?

    frank

  13. Russell says:

    True to form, that wild and crazy guy, Boom-Boom Motl has it up-

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/10/1010-movement-all-skeptical-kids-and.html

  14. Abe says:

    Heraclitus, on the one hand you’re right about cynicism, but even in pursuing shock value, it wouldn’t take a thinking person long to notice that climate change deniers, including kids, were the ones killed, after they had said that that’s what they were.

    Even if it’s not a threat, veiled or otherwise, it’s making use of graphic violence against a particular group of people who disagree with the makers of the video to make a point that is only slightly related.

    As to whether we’ll get a chance to find out, the video is already making the rounds on denialist websites – that’s where I found it.

    I don’t recommend watching it or not, but it will be watched by many, many people and it will do much more harm than good to the movement.

  15. Inverse:

    What comes around goes around, listen to yourselves… you are becoming everything you hated about skeptics when they were the underdogs….

    So you’re admitting that ‘skeptics’ wanted to blow people up while “they were the underdogs”? Surely that’s a shocking revelation. You should tell us more.

    frank

  16. Heraclitus says:

    But that’s the point Abe, the threat isn’t veiled because it’s not a threat. No-one can genuinely interpret it as a threat (I say this of course in the full knowledge that some will spin it as a threat and many will genuinely believe this spin), the message is very clearly something else. I think that message is complex and unsettling.

  17. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Bill McKibbon and Joe Romm… I think it would be very important to help to organize a very widespread repudiation of this video. I think every climate blog should be posting strong wording saying that this is very definitely NOT the position of anyone who cares about climate change.

    I think we should be getting that guy Richard Curtis who wrote the piece to step up and say something as well.

    This is a significant lapse at a really bad time.

  18. Robert H says:

    And I thought all the ignoramuses were on the other side of the argument. At least the people in the video weren’t beaten to death with hockey sticks… To say the deniers are on a tear with this unconscionable failure verges on hyperbole. The site I scanned, Hot Air, has a few commenters saying this is the reason they own guns. Their headline runs “Video: The dumbest, most self-defeating ad campaign ever” and for once they may be correct. With efforts like this who needs James O’Keefe?

  19. Jeff Gazzard says:

    Sorry but the video is childish – and I support the 10:10 campaign!

    This is how 10:10 are/were promoting it by the way – popped into my inbox at 06.22 this morning:

    “Hello 10:10ers,

    Even by my not-entirely-downbeat standards, I really am extremely over-excited to tell you that our Richard Curtis-written mini-movie, “No Pressure”, is premiering right now on the front page of the Guardian website, see pic below. (If it’s off the Guardian by the time you get this message, you can watch at: http://www.1010global.org/no-pressure )

    The 4-minute mini-movie stars The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson, together with Spurs players past and present – including Peter Crouch, Ledley King and David Ginola – and features music donated by Radiohead. It’s a fairly simple and to-the-point premise, I’m sure you’ll agree: we celebrate everybody who is actively tackling climate change… by blowing up those are aren’t. So if you’ve ever wondered what the inside of David Ginola looks like, here’s your chance to find out.

    I am completely blown away, pun intended, by the sterling efforts from our 40-person professional film crew, who all donated their time and equipment for free. Please, please, please, please forward the info below to as many friends and pretend facebook friends as you possibly can manage without getting sacked from your job, as that’s by far our best chance of going viral and waking a whole load more people up to the climate crisis.

    Thanking you all very much. And looking forward to seeing everybody in action next weekend for 10:10:10.

    Onwards and upwards,

    Franny
    Founder of 10:10 and
    Director of The Age of Stupid”

    The Age of Stupid was brilliant,this isn’t. Joe Romm’s comments are spot on.

    Jeff Gazzard

  20. JasonW says:

    As one who decried Anthony Watts’ disgusting endorsement of the infamous ‘cockroaches’ comment, I condemn this video equally – I have seen it in full and the message is as ambigous as it is simply wrong, nevermind the gut-wrenching presentation. As one other commenter pointed out, it displays draconic punishment, however, er, ironically, on people who don’t support a stupid token effort (10% reduction? That’s going to achieve bugger all, pardon me French). This is perfect fodder for the delayers, as is indeed happening all around the denier blogosphere (is ANYTHING they do NOT boringly predictable?).

    Somebody clearly wasn’t thinking straight; and someone like Gillian Anderson should have known better.

  21. Heraclitus:

    I think that message is complex and unsettling.

    No! No! No! When it comes to spurring people to action, the last thing one needs is a complex message.

    Much of the effectiveness of climate denialism is that their messages are simple (and wrong). “Climate changes!” “Question authority!” Simple, cookie-cutter talking points that take a few seconds to utter but hours to refute. The present occasion doesn’t demand a high-brow artistic project; it demands a down-to-earth, easily understood PR project.

    Recently Anna Haynes submitted a short, incisive rebuttal of climate denialism to a radio programme. Convert that to pictures, and I say we have a winner.

    frank

  22. Rob Honeycutt says:

    I also hope that the 10:10 folks have been on the phone with youtube to try to get as many of the copies of this taken down as they based on it being original copyrighted material.

  23. Richard Brenne says:

    This conversation reminds me of when I took my summer school job teaching film while a graduate student in UCLA’s film school, where I’d also been an undergrad. Although I was only 24, my training had me thinking that when I asked the urban high school students what their favorite films were, there answers were going to be like mine, meaning “Citizen Kane, Casablanca and It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    Instead it was almost exclusively “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

    I’ve noticed that the vast majority of CP commenters, including myself, have seen at least half a century go by. (It seems that perspective is helpful to digest and comment as expertly as so many CP commenters do.) To us this video is horribly shocking. To a generation raised on this stuff it is barely edgy.

    We need empathy of all kinds, including generational and cultural. Yes, the filmmakers made a huge tactical mistake, as duly noted.

    Since McKibben said he knows the filmmakers I too don’t smell a rat, although it’s good to be constantly sniffing. I think the pro-pollution, anti-science greed-mongers who launched and jumped on Climategate knew exactly what they were doing, but that was to sabotage Copenhagen where the leaders and representatives of the world’s nation’s attended. This is a work party day that I totally support but I’m afraid the powers that be don’t see as anything like a comparable threat.

    So the filmmakers made a big mistake. As caring parents, teachers and coaches we note the mistake, make sure it doesn’t happen again and then do that most genuine and genuinely spiritual act: Forgive.

    We spend so much time and energy opposing those who agree with us (wrong tactics, wrong message, wrong sentence, wrong punctuation) that we don’t have the appropriate energy to oppose those who really oppose us, and whose actions will destroy everything material we know.

  24. LP says:

    I’m going to just copy and paste my comments from another message board filled with climate conspiracy theorists:

    This video is someone’s really poor and unfortunately stupid attempt at macabre humor and that’s about all that needs to be said about it.

    But of course what’s more telling is the sad but absolutely predictable response of all the Pavlovian Beavis and Buttheads out there who don’t understand the first thing about climate change, but think they’ve got it all figured out and pigeonholed into some exclusively brainwashed movement of eco-nazi’s and communists here to steal your sovereignty.

    Everything is just an excuse to spit the same old rhetoric about taxes and global governance…never mind the fact this video has nothing to do with that.

    ZOMG!! They want to terrorize us and control us into…….

    Insulating our houses!!……………?
    Changing our………light……..bulbs?
    Riding a bike….eeeeeeek!!

    Oh no – run, er…I mean drive!! DRIVE YOUR HUMMERS, that’ll show those eco-nazis…
    OH THE HORROR!!! It’s ALL about control. blah blah blah.

    Dance monkeys, dance.

  25. MapleLeaf says:

    Bill and JR,

    Sorry for my little rant earlier Joe. I was rather annoyed about all this and let it show.

    Thanks for the post Bill and to both you and Joe for setting the record straight.

    Regardless, I agree with what Rob said @17:

    “This is a significant lapse at a really bad time.”

    I guess that email posted by Jeff @19, if authentic, answers my question asked @1.

    I am especially unhappy to read about “Franny” (Founder of 10:10) praising the video. She (and whoever else knew about this) has done her cause and that of others great harm. I would even go so far to suggest that she step down because of this…if that email is authentic…

  26. John Hollenberg says:

    > What comes around goes around, listen to yourselves… you are becoming everything you hated about skeptics when they were the underdogs….

    Uh, I think the “skeptics” are becoming more and more the underdogs with every day that goes by. Everywhere we see all time heat records, 500 year storms with massive flooding, glaciers melting, the arctic nearing the time when it will be ice free in summer… exactly what climate science predicts–hell and high water.

    It is just that the deniers are getting more desperate as the tide starts turning.

    PS Test drove a Nissan Leaf today. It’s a perfect car for me for everything but a few longer trips per year. I think Nissan is going to hit this one out of the park.

  27. Jeff Huggins says:

    Once Again

    I haven’t seen the video, and it sounds disturbing, off-track, and counter-productive. Having not seen it, I can’t comment on it directly.

    So I’ll offer an observation about a feeling I continue to have.

    It seems to me that we are still rattling around “on defense”, for the most part. With very rare exception — and I’m crossing my fingers that 10/10/10 will be a substantial move forward?! — we are dabbling around doing just about everything EXCEPT the sorts of things that will really be necessary to generate positive change to the degree needed.

    It feels to me — and I’m sad to say this — that most of the community — our community here and the leaders of the various climate movements — probably get an A or A+ or at least an A- with respect to understanding climate science and taking the matter seriously, but get a D or D-, or perhaps even an F, in terms of understanding how societies change and what it will take to accomplish the changes necessary.

    Where are the real change-agents, for goodness sake? (other than maybe a handful of folks)

    Where are the Martin Luther King Jrs, the John Lennons, the Gandhis, the Rosa Parkses, the Mario Savios, the Joan Baezes, of today? I applaud Bill McKibben and Jim Hansen, but the movement needs thousands more of them, and millions more to follow them, and even then something feels like it’s missing. We are (I think) psychologically handcuffing ourselves, sort of, as one way of putting it.

    We are aware of, and involved in, all of these on-line games — even as the streets themselves are all business as usual. It strikes me as a bit odd — and I can’t quite put it into words — that this unfortunate video comes out, and we’re spending time on it here, and it made Bill’s day bad, and the online climate deniers are having a field day, and yet the streets of Los Gatos and San Jose and San Francisco and Berkeley probably don’t reflect even a peep of concern, OR of denial, about the climate change problem. There seems to be a narrow on-line war of words, concerns, accusations, details, foibles, and so forth, and meanwhile the world turns and turns and turns — and the streets provide the greatest evidence of the momentum of the status quo and of the almost complete on-line nature of the battle!

    We seem to think we are mainly engaged in an online battle, with other online opponents, and sometimes with the media as opponent. That would be OK, and helpful, if the “street movement” was working. But the actual real-world street movement is almost non-existent as far as I can tell. Nil. Nada. Have I just been walking around on the wrong streets, visiting the wrong places, talking to the wrong people, missing out on the climate-related signs that are on all the streets that I haven’t been walking down? Have I missed the big concerts at which the stars have talked seriously about climate change? (I’ve only seen Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton and Madonna and etc. etc. in the last few years, so I may have missed other artists who might be talking about climate change, but these didn’t.)

    I’m sorry to sound like such a crab — but it seems to me that this movement is missing some very important ingredients and creative thinking. And we seem to be more comfortable being on the defensive, apologizing for things and reacting to them.

    That’s it for now. TGIF.

    Jeff

  28. Jeff Gazzard says:

    Just a very quick and brief response to Maple Leaf@25 above – Franny Armstrong’s 10:10 email is real. Let’s call it youthful impetuosity!

    And I’m real too by the way…as google will confirm just somewhat older.

    Jeff Gazzard

  29. Heraclitus says:

    Frank #21 – I’m not saying this was the right message, although I’m not completely sure yet that it wasn’t, at least for certain groups. But what it is not is straightforward propaganda – although this is of course how it is being ‘interpreted’ by some, perhaps reflecting the fact that this is how they communicate themselves, as you point out.

    I’m interested in Franny’s description of the film quoted above:

    “It’s a fairly simple and to-the-point premise, I’m sure you’ll agree: we celebrate everyone who is actively tackling climate change… by blowing up those who aren’t.”

    The irony (the closest word, but not really the right one) I see in this comment is the same irony I see in the film. Maybe that’s my projection, but I don’t think so.

  30. Robert P. says:

    10/10 has taken down the mini-movie. They have now replaced it with the following message at http://www.1010global.org/no-pressure


    Sorry.
    Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called ‘No Pressure’.
    With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain’s leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis – writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.
    As a result of these concerns we’ve taken it off our website. We won’t be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet.
    We’d like to thank the 50+ film professionals and 40+ actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.
    At 10:10 we’re all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.
    Onwards and upwards,
    Franny, Lizzie, Eugenie and the whole 10:10 team

  31. Jon Dee says:

    You’re all taking this far too seriously. The video contains very traditional British black humour. It was actually quite funny but was guilty of probably being a bit too long. I wasn’t sure that Americans would get the humor in the video and I was right. People need to lighten up and focus on the main game, but good on the 10:10 UK crew for trying something different.

  32. john atcheson says:

    The hotter it gets, the more of this kind of crap we’ll see. Especially now that the denier community has seen the thing travel the net so quickly. From propaganda to cheep satire/parody is a short trip, necessitated by reality.

  33. JasonW says:

    Heraclitus, this one sentence of your post above needs to be highlighted far and wide, because it sums up PERFECTLY the delayers’ mindset and methods:

    ‘But what it is not is straightforward propaganda – although this is of course how it is being ‘interpreted’ by some, PERHAPS REFLECTING THE FACT THAT THIS IS HOW THEY COMMUNICATE THEMSELVES, as you point out.’ (emphasis added, sorry for the CapsLock)

    Spot on!

  34. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Jon Dee… I think you’re right. That was exactly my initial reaction. But that really doesn’t excuse not having better controls across channels. I mean, 1010 is supposed to be an international organization. They should have been running this past their counterparts in the states to get a sense of what would happen in this market.

    But honestly, if the tables had been turned and it had been them blowing up environmentalists, I’d be highly offended myself.

    I’d really like to see Richard Curtis go on television and make some kind of statement about it.

  35. If instead of blowing people up, they cut to a species going extinct… cartoonish X for eyes sort of thing… something cute, that’d have a message I could cope with.
    This one was sick.

  36. Robert says:

    I just watched the video (it’s still all over youtube). I can’t get too excited about the gore – it’s not exactly realistic, more the sort of tomato ketchup explosions we have seen loads of times on Monty Python, Little Britain and other British comedies.

    The message is a little off though. If one individual won’t reduce emissions and another will then the result is that both suffer, not that one dies and the other lives. The makers didn’t think it through.

  37. Robert says:

    Compare with this Monty Python sketch where John Cleese gets all 4 limbs hacked off but brushes it off as a flesh wound and keeps fighting…!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eMkth8FWno

  38. re: 27

    Jeff, that was very well stated — 10:10 is about trying to change what you run into everywhere — no awareness, indeed, people are oblivious to what is coming. It is quite extraordinary, but there it is. The mainstream media has been muzzled, the TV networks taken over by climate zombies, the weatherpersons by and large ignorant (with some notable exceptions of course), so the average person is not receiving any information.

  39. Wit'sEnd says:

    It’s really too bad that sanctimonious activists didn’t support the 1010 effort to shake things up, to the point where they felt obligated to withdraw the video, which was created at great cost and effort – and apologized.

    I suspect it’s somewhat inevitable that well-known and well-intentioned leaders in the movement to avert the worst effects of climate change have become so enamored of their personal congratulatory, adulatory organizations that they just honestly don’t realize – their strategy isn’t working.

    IT ISN’T WORKING.

    In hindsight, it will become apparent that the scientifically endorsed reticence of hedging – oh we can’t attribute that flood or hurricane or drought or all those dying trees – to human influence via burning fuel…and we don’t want to be confrontational or controversial so we’ll make nice and have polite work parties rather than accuse the climate criminals openly in the streets…is an unmitigated disaster for the human race, and most other species we share this planet with.

    Shame on all of you detractors and bravo to the wrongly chastened producers of “No Pressure”.

    You can see it on my blog, if you want a good laugh.

  40. Charles says:

    I think John Dee @ 31 has a valid point: this is typical, black British humor. That being said, the creators of the vid should have realized this wouldn’t go over well in North America and elsewhere. Ya gotta know your audience. It would have been easy for them to get the message across in more appropriate ways, and hockey sticks would have been a nice touch, if used carefully.

  41. james says:

    This film was a big budget affair.It was made by Richard Curtis of Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral fame. It was released this morning with a big up preview from the London Guardian who described the film as “edgy”. Aparently it cost $400,000 to make and was part funded by the UK taxpayer with government grants.

    FAIL

  42. Doug Bostrom says:

    10:10 Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t …

    “Some” people believe the change in climate’s just a coincidence, some other people believe their target audience is somehow unique.

    10:10 is committing the basic mistake of contrarians: not listening to what scientific research tells us about risk, in this case risk perception and communication. If the folks who decided to squander valuable resources on this self-immolating fizzle had cracked a book on risk perception and communication prior to leaping into action, they’d have known how ineffective this video would be.

  43. Mary says:

    Wow, not only was it incredibly bad judgment, people here start immediately acting like it was a conspiracy:

    Bill, was the video ever intended for release? Perhaps it was not and someone leaked it to sabotage 10:10?

    I can’t see how the higher-ups would sign off on that? I smell a rat.

    It was given to The Guardian by the film makers: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film

    It was incredibly tone deaf. It was hugely wrong. And it is actively now being used against us.

    As the Brits are saying: Own goal.

    Stupid beyond belief.

  44. MapleLeaf says:

    Jeff, @28

    Thanks for confirming. Yes, I the enthusiasm was clearly evident. Someone needs to sit down with her and have a chat.

  45. Doug Bostrom says:

    Perhaps this will help to wash the nasty, counterproductive taste out of our eyes:

    Ben Newell of UNSW explains how we think about risk

  46. Susan says:

    Wit’sEnd #39 I agree, communication about the threats of global warming are hitting dead ends. There needs to be some creative problem solving around this. However, this video just went too far. The makers of video didn’t seem to have any intuition about how this would be perceived world-wide.

  47. Wit'sEnd says:

    Susan:

    It doesn’t really matter!

    This is a bunch of angels dancing on pin heads (this question serves as a metaphor for wasting time debating topics of no practical value)

    WE ARE FUCKED.

  48. David Gould says:

    Well, I thought it was funny. It is hard-edged satire, and I have tried to defend it at WUWT. The reaction to this is not something that I would have expected, and I find it hard to see how the producers of the video could have known. Obviously, it failed. But things like this are almost bound to fail if we do not explain them and defend them. As an advert, it acheived the first aim of advertising: to be noticed. WUWT put a pro-AGW ad on the top of the website. How often does that happen?

    [JR: I find it hard to see how the producers of the video could have ever thought it wasn't grossly offensive -- and I am a mammoth fan of British humor all the way back to Monty Python when it was first broadcast in the U.S., which famously had exploding people, but only in the service of absurdist humor.]

  49. Robert P. says:

    Cat (47) is a Poe. No real denier actually admits that he is one.

  50. Stu says:

    Thanks Mr Romm/Me Mckibben for your distancing from this horrible piece of communication. There is probably nothing more chilling to me than seeing people finding humour in the violent coercion of children into silence. That this film was ever approved along the whole chain of production is just unbelievable to me. I’m glad that even some of the most passionate and outspoken advocates of climate action here can see that this film is just so wrong on so many levels.

    Personally, I am a sceptic of some of the pieces of evidence for AGW, and a believer (or no reason not to believe) for other pieces of evidence. I guess most people are not so black and white on this issue as some (the producers of this film?) would like to believe. I have also been involved in environmental restoration for most of my adult life, do not own a car or have a licence, am vegetarian and eat 80% organic food. I denounce rabid consumerism. I would like to know that just because I am sceptical of some of the claims of AGW theory that people around me would secretly like to explode me. I wonder how many trees these people have planted, or whether they drive themselves? Maybe it is me that should have the red button?

    Anyway. I breathe some kind of sigh of relief here. This will be hard to let down from your end, a lot of people feel justifiably angry at this, myself included. This is coercive propaganda of an extreme kind. There is no reason at all to support this. The Guardian has just lost any respect I may have once had for it. And I don’t think I’ll be getting involved in any 10:10 campaign.

    I hope you can ride this criticism with dignity and restraint. I wish you luck in your future communications with the public.

    [JR: I don't think they want to explode you. I just think they wanted to get attention and they chose a grossly inappropriate way. But it is hard to call failed black humor "coercive propaganda." Nobody is forced to watch this.]

  51. David Gould says:

    JR,

    It is satire in two ways: firstly, of the extremist rhetoric of a minority of the AGW movement; and secondly, of the Holocaust fantasies of what they thought were a minority of sceptics. They drastically underestimated how many sceptics seem to have those – how many really believe that we are going to kill them all. I underestimated that, too. Read the WUWT threads to see that response. It is not a rational one.

    In any case, I found it very funny, but it has obviously failed.

  52. Stu says:

    PS, I also don’t think that the 10:10 campaigners themselves have properly apologised for this. They ‘imagine’ that most people found this funny and a few found it offensive, while the reverse situation is overwhelmingly in evidence. They need to stop dealing in distortions. This doesn’t sound like an apology to me. This is a ‘sorry it didn’t work’ kind of apology.

  53. DeNihilist says:

    First off I got that the video was intended to be funny, and actually laughed at it. Until the second, third, fourth segment, it then became tedious and exploitive.

    Second off, take a second and go back a couple of days to one of Dr. Romm’s posting about another attempt at humour in the Globe and Mail. Another bad attempt to make light of things, but still send a message. I think that this could be the way forward, a bit of humour with the message. Only done with a bit more professionalism.

    The constant barrage of doom and gloom has run its course and people are just not listening anymore. My advice – start promoting the positive, as in the video with Ellen Page, that I think maybe Mr. McKibben had a hand in.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gkldRVR54Y

  54. Rick Bradford says:

    It’s hard to sum up a film like that in 25 words or less, but here goes:

    Abysmal, Brain-dead, Cretinous, Disgusting, Emetic, Facinorous, Gross, Hateful, Infantile, Jerk-off, Klutzy, Lunatic, Mean, Nasty, Offensive, Psychotic, Queasy, Rotten, Sanctimonious, Terrible, Unspeakable, Vulgar, Wretched, Xecrable, Yucky.

    Efforts to prevent damaging climate change have just been set back several years.

    [JR: You vastly overestimate the damage this idiocy will have. Plus what "Efforts to prevent damaging climate change" are you talking about?]

  55. Lewis C says:

    Gail at 37 -

    Very well said. That small fraction of the young that are active need their elders’ support, encouragement and counsel. The last not least.

    Richard makes a valid point regarding very different expectations of violence in film between the generations, and CP appears sadly to have a preponderance of us ‘third agers’, so I suppose some shocked condemnation is not surprising, especially given the use the deniers will make of the selected clips.

    One aspect not yet considered here is that London has been a centre of climate action for twenty years now, with nothing very tangible yet achieved by the prevailing culture. During that time activists over here have known full well the particular threat facing Northern Europe – that IF we lose the Gulf Stream, which can happen within one decade, then we’ll face the climate of Southern Alaska but with a temperate climate’s infrastructure, industry and housing stock, and without a vast fossil energy reserve to send everyone annual dividends.

    Farming would be history, as would our economies. Whole nations from Britain northwards would have no choice but to migrate south, en masse, mostly destitute, to an uncertain welcome in foreign cultures.

    Thus I’m not at all surprised that some of the messages out of London are getting uncomfortably extreme. To put it in context, if the US’ 320 million population were facing a risk of eviction, potentially within a decade, what kind of extremity of messaging should we expect to see ?

    That the film was made for the web without its humour being glossy enough for other cultures to follow was clearly a cock-up. Yet that raises the question of organizational communications. It was done under the 10-10 banner, and cost £400k, yet evidently 350.org new nothing of it ?

    A backyard video made in Cochabamba for 10-10 might well get overlooked by a group as busy as the 350 crew, but it is hard to accept their title of ‘co-ordinating’ the global event if they don’t even get a script from their partners in London. Thus it has to be asked, where is the public 350.org forum in which ideas, policies, tactics and strategies get scrutinized by all interested parties including those who are framing their actions under the 350 banner ?

    Without that public forum, not only is the organization hamstrung in terms of developing and promoting effective global policy demands, it is also lacking the requisite communications feedback by which efficient co-ordination would be possible.

    Thus I’d suggest that the central lesson of this debacle is that 350.org should open up its communications and direct far more effort into public discussion of its options as a global political movement. Without this advance, it is in danger of becoming an a-political sink for dissent worldwide, and of missing its goal of unifying an effective global political movement.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  56. MarkB says:

    I’m not saying the humor in the video is my thing, but I don’t think our British counterparts are going to be as grossly offended as some here seem to be. The video is intended to be absurd, poking fun at those idiots who view environmentalists in this ridiculous extreme light. And the way the denial crowd has reacted, I think they made their point. The comedy is much like what we see in Monty Python stuff.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_comedy

    The genre of comedy is intended to simultaneously shock you and make you laugh. Pulp Fiction is another example. It doesn’t work for me, since when I’m shocked, I’m usually not in a laughing mood. I understand the broad point being made here. Most don’t get this sort of comedy, so why use it when it’s bound to generate outrage (feigned or not) and not really be a net benefit for the goals of this organization?

  57. Jonathan says:

    Reading the comments, I started to wonder
    if this was a case of British humour not
    crossing the Atlantic.

    But having watched to the first explosion
    (teacher nonchalantly detonates two
    students while the rest of the class
    screams) I can confirm that for me as a
    40-something Australian, it’s shocking
    and disgusting and not the least funny.

    I think you’re right Richard @23, this
    shows the generation gap between me and
    the video-gaming young’uns inured to
    extreme violence. Most deniers are 55+
    and will also be appalled by this video,
    so it’s a stupid own goal.

    Jeff makes a great point @27 – what are
    you all planning for 10-10? We’re
    doorknocking our neighbourhood with a
    survey on shifting Australia to 100%
    renewables, as part of http://100percent.org.au
    and see also http://zerocarbonplan.org

    We figure it’ll be a fun way to take a
    positive message to the other 99% of
    people who rarely consider this issue at all.

  58. Mary says:

    @Stu: agree on the apology. It sounded more to me like we’re sorry some people don’t have a sense of humour…

    At a time when most of us are just hoping that angry tea-partiers don’t blow their corks and start going all ‘second amendment’ on people they disagree with, this was incredibly ill-advised. Can you imagine the outrage on the left if this had been done in reverse?

  59. Does this mean we have to skip Halloween this year?

  60. mike roddy says:

    There are legitimate disagreements about taste here, and everybody is entitled to an opinion. The main thing is to avoid the trap of getting all hand wringing and apologetic. Even if the film was a misfire, let’s just move on, and not provide a rare opportunity to award the oil and coal people any moral high ground.

  61. Robert Nagle says:

    I had to admit, I laughed in shock at what this video was about. Yes, it is tasteless and offensive and wrong-headed.

    In USA, the cartoon show Southpark indulges in similar kinds of caricatures about eco-terrorists. They are clever about it, and if you stop and try to understand the object of ridicule, you realize that the satire is misplaced and insulting. But it’s funny, so we let it go (allegedly).

    I would be curious about why this was funded and whether this is just a bad joke taken too far by a skit production team or a sign of corporate influence.

    The best solution is to ignore it, although I’m afraid it has viral potential. If CNN runs with it though, it could backfire and get Bill McKibben et al on network TV to explain multiple times why it is offensive and what 350.org is all about.

    On a positive note, as a fiction writer, I come in contact with many artists, and almost all of them are passionate about climate change. This kind of skit video just seems like an anomaly for anyone in the creative world to collaborate on.

  62. Robert Nagle says:

    Sorry, I had to pile on from the No Pressure statement:

    “Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.”

    This is such an imperious and self-congratulatory statement borne of self-delusion. The subtext: despite our obvious talent and comic brilliance, we can’t help it that a minority of oversensitive twits find it offensive.”

    I think as this video gains more circulation it will become apparent how many people really find this vid offensive and how uninspired the video really is.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind having more agitprop of the Mark Fiore kind.

    Fiore has done some wicked stuff. Joe Romm, et al, you really need to watch this stuff!

    http://www.markfiore.com/political-cartoons/watch-little-green-videos-environment-bp-oil-spill-little-green-man-animated-video-mark-fiore-animation
    “We love it when our environmental disasters have good visuals, little submarines and crying tourists to make even better. You just don’t get that kind of TV with some kind of dead zone in the Gulf.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DZfdX42CZo
    A video about how we drill for “lizard juice”

    Drill Baby Drill
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-NEpt8chKc
    (This was published in September 2008, and is very prescient of the BP oil spill scandal).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nceEl2fdsro
    Vote for Oil. A satirical political commercial that is a historical pastiche.

    Coal is the cleanest thing ever!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLZ-hvVVGmY

  63. Abe says:

    I just wanted to say for the record that I’m a “video-gaming young-un”, and I have a problem with this video – I don’t think it’s necessarily generational.

    Honestly I would have less of a problem with it if there hadn’t been the theme of singling out deniers and then exploding them – the whole “we killed X people in this video, but climate change kills Y people every year” idea isn’t an inherently bad one, but what this particular video did was give fodder to folks who don’t need it.

    Shocking isn’t a bad thing, and unusual rhetoric isn’t a bad thing, but given 10/10′s reaction to this, they clearly weren’t anticipating the reactions that it got from us humorless Americans, and that was a mistake that didn’t need to happen.

    Completely aside from the “right or wrong” of the content, most climate deniers I’ve encountered move in their own echo chamber (as many non-deniers do too), where things like Mockton’s “hitler youth” comments, and the claims that there’s a plot to create a communist world government, etc. hang around for a long time, and something like this will, within a few weeks, be categorized as “the video they don’t want you to see”, and they will be claiming it shows what we REALLY want to do, and what we WILL do if we’re given our way.

    I’m not proud of the crazy element in America (or in the human species in general), but it is present, and because, in this case, it’s saying something a lot of people would prefer to hear, it’s influential.

    If a video like this is released, it should be done after careful consideration of the impact, not because a person thought it was funny, and didn’t really consider how it might possibly be received.

    end of rant.

  64. Great, the inactivist sock puppets and trolls have come here to infest this thread. Just what we need.

    * * *

    mike roddy:

    Even if the film was a misfire, let’s just move on, and not provide a rare opportunity to award the oil and coal people any moral high ground.

    “Let’s just move on” is the wrong response. We need to really sit down and find out what lessons can be learnt from this PR lapse, instead of simply repeating the ‘oh, we’re just bad at PR, we’re just bad at PR’ refrain. Because if we don’t, and we just “move on”, we’ll just continue to make the same mistakes.

    frank

  65. mrjohn says:

    james says:
    October 1, 2010 at 7:35 pm
    “This film was a big budget affair.It was made by Richard Curtis of Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral fame. It was released this morning with a big up preview from the London Guardian who described the film as “edgy”. Aparently it cost $400,000 to make and was part funded by the UK taxpayer with government grants.”

    This cannot be true, if the crew and actors did it for free where did the money go?

    A short film like this can’t have cost that much in post production.

  66. David B. Benson says:

    Stu @50 — There is no AGW theory.

  67. jyyh says:

    And now something completely Tasteless. If they’d been run over by a car, some might’ve appreciated the irony.

  68. Randy Olson says:

    The films are extremely high production value with excellent performances and good writing. It could easily cost $400K if nobody called in any favors. I can’t imagine it costing less than $50K even if there were lots of favors. Just look at how many extras there are in the classroom scene. They are kids. Which entails all kinds of union and guardian and school laws. Bottom line — these are not student or amateur films. They are the work of professional communicators.

  69. Mary says:

    @Randy Olson: are scientists really worse than this at messaging? I’m a scientist. I know I could do better. And I get a little testy in discussions with people who have degrees from Google U.

    But I’ve never been tempted to go this far. This is appalling.

  70. mrjohn says:

    “Just look at how many extras there are in the classroom scene. They are kids. Which entails all kinds of union and guardian and school laws. Bottom line — these are not student or amateur films. They are the work of professional communicators.”

    It stated on the website the actors gave their time for free, including the kids.

    I can tell you from personal experience tech guys don’t volunteer for these jobs, we are volunteered by the person that doesn’t actually end up doing the work.

  71. MapleLeaf says:

    Joe,

    Why is mrjohn being allowed to spam this site?

    Everyone here agrees that the video was appalling and a huge fail. It was clearly not endorsed by climate scientists and I think I am correct is saying this kind of messaging is endorsed by almost all “warmers”. We want to take action to mitigate loss of life for goodness’ sakes.

    People are rightly mad b/c this video has given the already aggressive denialists ammunition.

    Bill has made a valiant effort to try and set the record straight, but more needs to be said and done to repair the damage.

    I’m hoping this post makes it, a couple of mine have not made it though tonight.

  72. MapleLeaf respectfully disagree. Like @51 I too tht it satire on the “eco-fascist” meme… and very well done at that. Really bad in terms of timing and strategy however — too easy to be misused/misunderstood.

    but funny, it was funny. And I dislike horror/slasher/gory movies, the gore in this was so obviously a silly fake

  73. MapleLeaf says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I don’t know…I can perhaps see what they were trying to do. But the public outcry is clearly a sign that they missed the boat.

    Watts must think Christmas has come early….and that does not make me happy. Besides, now when we ‘warmers’ are debating with ‘skeptics’ we are going to have this video thrown in our faces.

  74. huxley says:

    What’s disturbing about the film, in addition to the obvious, is that a team of 40+ professionals, who spent some amount of time planning and creating this film, never managed to consider how other people, including their allies, would react to this film.

    It wouldn’t seem that hard to figure that, even if one found the film personally edgy and humorous, that it wouldn’t play well to a general audience, that it would in fact hurt one’s efforts to promote the cause at hand.

    It also seems odd that “No Pressure” broke a prime rule of comedy — the audience identifies with the underdog and despises cruel authority.

    It’s as though Richard Curtis rewrote “Blackadder Goes Forth” with the insane General Melchett as the hero who inflicts hilarious horror after horrror upon Blackadder and the boys, culminating in their deaths, after which Curtis expects the audience to laugh.

  75. BFL says:

    England and most of Europe have already had green energy and carbon initiatives involuntarily forced on them. In the US we are expecting this to happen shortly with the EPA’s forcible and involuntary regulation of CO2 and removal of incandescent bulbs. This may play well with the climate control groups but it is not going to go over easily at all in the US where individual freedom to decide a course of action tends to be sacrosanct. Considering the kinds of things already in the climate control pipeline, why would anyone not think that this video would back up anti-climate fears at a personal level.

  76. MapleLeaf says:

    Oh dear, the trolls and conspiracy theorists are out in force.

  77. Richard Brenne says:

    A denier writes: “By lies do you mean the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035?”

    That Himalayan glaciers figure was probably the biggest mistake (one of a handful of factual mistakes, not counting conservatism) in the 2007 IPCC Report. It is something I wish I’d caught myself, but unfortunately mistakes are bound to happen in a thousand-page volume chock-full of facts and figures. It is one of the most

    talked-about mistakes in history. Peer-reviewed science, the IPCC Report and the posts written here at Climate Progress are written in good faith, with (very) occasional mistakes.

    Those who deny scientific facts like warming and human causes are operating in bad faith. They are bearing false witness in ways that are premeditated and malicious, breaking a fundamental commandment.

    Mistakes happen. This film is obviously seen by many to be in the poorest of taste.

    But thinking, speaking and writing in bad faith while bearing false witness is in a different category. It is willful, wanton and egregious. If you think those are heavenly traits, at some point (hopefully in this lifetime) you’ll think again.

  78. John Mason says:

    As a PR exercise, this was an epic fail IMO. But the responses to it are equally interesting. Godwin’s Law has been involved widely.

    A lot of the criticism bangs on about the “incitement to violence”. Where were the same critics when Rush Limbaugh was calling out for certain climate scientists to be publically flogged?

    The need to move to cleaner, less polluting ways has not gone away. An ill-conceived film does not suddenly make all the fossil fuels infinite in their abundance. Neither does it mean the Pakistan floods never happened. It does not mean that Deepwater Horizon did not blow, ruining livelihoods along the Gulf Coast. It does not mean that the worst heatwave in Russia’s history was a figment of the imagination. It does not invalidate two centuries of scientific research. The laws of thermodynamics, the Clausius Clapeyron equation – these remain unchanged.

    If the makers of this film had bothered to read Climate Cover-up (especially page 32) they would have realised that there is a lot that the think-tanks that stand behind the organised opposition to climate science can teach us. Specifically, with respect to that reference, the importance of careful message-testing in advance of public release. I think if they had bothered to test this particular message then they would not have used it!

    But, as Scotty would say, “it doesnae change the laws o’physics”!

    Cheers – John

  79. Steve Bloom says:

    More time spent discussing this here or elsewhere is time wasted. It’ll go viral with the kids or not.

  80. NeilT says:

    Whilst I find this clip qutie distasteful and not particularly funny, I’m a Brit and a python fan too, I find the message is totally and completely backwards.

    The point is that those who won’t change and those who deny are destoying the future of everyone else and themselves too. If, in the first clip, the teacher and the rest of the class had blown up, followed by a stunned 20 second silence as the two “deniers” stared with amazement and then blew up themselves, I could actually see this having some kind of sharp “in your face” edgy impact.

    But to portray that climate activists are some kind of insane (and consciousless), murderers of those who don’t follow their belief is, even in extreme black comedy jest, a serious own goal

    To quote a phrase that we often use in the IT industry, It’s not shooting yourself in the foot which counts, we’ve all done that from time to time, it’s the speed with which you reload and do it again…..

    Normally I’m in agreement with you Joe but this time I’m a polar opposite. This is going to hurt. Once it’s been spun it’s going to be very difficult for someone sitting on the fence to see it any other way than as some kind of crazed eco activists who want us all dead if we don’t agree with them.

    This is going to be there for a long time and do a lot of damage. Best thing we can do is heads down and move on. The impact of the changes already in the system will begin to make our case more clearly than anything we can say or do.

    [JR: I agree with your "completely backwards" statement. But the bottom line is it's an abysmal Brit production by a small bunch of grossly insensitive Brits. It might have some lingering impact in Britain (which I doubt, since they have a broad consensus for action). Not here though. We were gonna do nothing for a long time before this idiotic video showed up. The pro-pollution liars and hate-speech promoters have already "won" here.]

  81. Stu:

    Get lost, concern troll.

    frank

  82. pete best says:

    This is featured and shown in a UK Guardian article which I have seen. It features UK soccer stars as well and one of those gets blown up too but even so its now becomming obvious that it’s the isue with the media that is partly responsible here. 10:10 was a film and a movement here in the UK, this video message I deemed to be dangerous the moment I watched it but extremes exists on the both sides of the political divide and getting a message across makes for an extreme message.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film

    Gillian Andersen features too.

    A lot of people here have studied the culture of politics in relation to ACC here and know that as soon as they watched it, it would be deemed inappropriate. WUWT and others would be suggesting (especially in the USA) that it is typcial of unhinged environmentalists.

    Sad really too see Richard Curtis and others go this way and be part of a message like this one. Now back to reading some more science.

  83. pete best says:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100056586/eco-fascism-jumps-the-shark-massive-epic-fail/

    James Dellingpole has it so the damage is done here in the UK with our arch idiot Daily Telegraph guy who goes out of his way to be as hostile and puerile as possible to get our ACC believers as he would term them.

  84. mike roddy says:

    Good comments, Richard Brenne. I also appreciated someone’s comment that the producers failed to road test the response. The deniers are more savvy when it comes to these efforts- they are pros at manipulation of data and people, and, unlike climate activists, pretest with audiences.

    The denier cadre even showed up here, as part of a call to arms, apparently.

    Climate change denial, by enabling public acceptance of burning oil and coal, has already killed many, many people, and it’s early. People who run companies like Peabody, Exxon, and Koch can be legitimately described as guilty of murder. These fossil fuel interests, and their useful idiots on the blogs and in the press, are getting on their high horses about artistic license and symbolism, and throwing around terms like “ecofascists”. Let’s not let them get away with it- and counterattack instead.

  85. toby says:

    Like almost everyone else, I have been defending climate science against the slurs arising from this stupid video.

    You can only ask “What WERE they thinking?”. Surely someone like Gillian Anerson could have pointed out that the film would not get the reaction sought. One of the “stars”, French footballer David Ginola, has been a UNICEF Ambassador – you would think he would have know better.

    The writer, Richard Curtis, wrote one of the best comedies ever on British television (“Blackadder”), but his attempt at humour totally misfired here.

    The video is clearly so much the work of stupid idiots rather than murderous psychopaths that the whole storm-in-a-teacup will blow over soon enough.

  86. toby says:

    10:10 have withdrawn the video.

    http://www.1010global.org/no-pressure

  87. Susan Dealy says:

    You think anybody is going to believe anything said by the sort of raving loony who see’s nothing wrong with this movie?

    “Many people found the resulting film extremely funny”. “Man is warming the planet”. “They’re coming to take me away, ha-ha”.

  88. FedUpWithDenial says:

    As the earth rapidly heats up due the accelerating rise in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases—leading to climate changes which have become increasingly evident to careful observers in recent decades in the form of unusual and widely fluctuating extremes of heat, humidity, and rainfall or drought as well as a higher incidence of severe weather events of all kinds—aware people are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry at the inaction of governments and the impotence of political leaders. The latter often seem excessively timid in the face of loud claims from the skeptic side that global warming is exaggerated, unreal, or a hoax. Thus it is disconcerting but not really surprising that somebody well-intentioned with a generous budget and sophisticated video technology at their disposal went overboard in meting out imaginary justice to “deniers.”

    Nothing today so angers and frustrates as the phenomenon of global-warming denial, which has its roots in an underhanded, highly organized, and well-funded campaign to deceive and mislead the public about man-made climate change. To date this campaign has been highly successful—so much so that one often wishes in private that the heads of prominent deniers would simply explode. I can sympathize with that, as with the privately expressed sentiment of one climate scientist who (in one of the stolen Climategate e-mails) said that the next time he saw [name omitted] at a meeting he’d be tempted to (in his words) “beat the crap out of him.”

    And let’s be honest—if the heads of prominent climate deniers did magically explode tomorrow morning, the world would certainly be a better place, wouldn’t it? I’m not talking about the simple dupes so much as those engaged in deliberate duplicity and deception—the paid disinformers, that is, who include various unsavoury showmen and opportunists as well as the CEOs of big corporations like ExxonMobil who know exactly what they are doing, and doing for the sake of enormous profit.

    Thus the problem is of how to direct the psychological energy that this anger embodies into creative channels that might help to bring about constructive change. Addressing the problem ultimately means finding effective ways to take on the most powerful industrial, commercial, and political interests in the world—Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Mining, Big Manufacturing, the Big Three automakers, Big Media (which depends on advertising money from all of the above), and Big Government itself to the extent that its various branches have now been bought out by the power of the fossil-fuel lobbies in Washington and elsewhere.

    The central problem of the twenty-first century is that the long-term environmental costs of fossil-fuel exploitation are orders of magnitude greater than was once assumed. These costs will become exponentially worse as the century wears on. Today we’re not just damaging the environment and killing ever-larger numbers of people with toxic pollution from oil and coal combustion; according to an emerging consensus of expert opinion we’re literally in the process of killing the biosphere itself, the source of all future life. Natural ecosystems are being degraded and destroyed at an alarming rate, forests are disappearing, the world’s seas are acidifying and warming, oceanic dead zones are expanding as pollution and oxygen depletion become worse, and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating dramatically. One-third to one-half of the world’s life forms could face extinction within a century, with the longer-term species toll potentially much worse. The best science available today implies that the “final bill” for continuing to use fossil fuels as the main energy source and backbone of the world’s economy will eventually be paid not just in crushing economic losses but in the indescribable pain and suffering of generations to come who stand to inherit a severely damaged environment at best—a world whose climate will be totally unlike the equable conditions in which civilization developed and to which humans along with their crops and animals are adapted.

    And yet, tragically, the long-term cost of transitioning to a clean, non-polluting economy based on abundant supplies of renewable energy is reliably estimated to be only about 0.1% of global GDP—about one-tenth of a U.S. cent on the dollar—but in the U.S., where “God’s Own Party” stands united in the way of all progress and a majority of the public remains unconcerned if not blinkingly stupid, the murderous alliance of conservative political ideology and short-sighted business interests has prevented that option from even being seriously considered.

    Now think about that. You can check out the costs and benefits in detail right here at Climate Progress, via the link
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/03/30/global-warming-economics-low-cost-high-benefit/

  89. Marion Delgado says:

    It’s stupid, but no different from South Park’s “Team America” blowing up Janeane Garofalo for being anti-war.

  90. pete best says:

    Unfortunately Bob, the media requires strong messages or so it seems to be anyway. Its just that this message is too strong and has multiple meanings, the few ruin it for the many, the many pressurise the few etc.

    But on the whole its the wrong message regardless.

  91. FedUpWithDenial says:

    Steven Leibo, Ph.D., in comment (#2), writes:

    “I have not seen the video and have no intention of doing so. But I think we all have to realize that the situation is going to get a lot uglier over the next few years. The stakes are just too high, and the emotional level of both sides too elevated for this not to get a whole lot more complicated and nasty. I speak not as an expert on climate change but as a professor of Modern International History and Politics.”

    How complicated, then, is “complicated,” and how nasty is “nasty?”

    I would guess that conditions favoring the situation getting really ugly in the United States between now and (say) 2020—perhaps to the point of widespread civil disruption, anarchy, riots, and even—Heaven help us—wholesale murder (societal chaos that would make the 1861-65 conflagration known as the “American Civil War” seem like a lovers’ quarrel on honeymoon night by comparison)—include (1) GOP victories in 2010 that return the U.S. Congress partially or totally to Republican control, ensuring deadlock for the foreseeable future over clean energy and climate legislation; (2) the GOP capturing the White House in 2012; (3) successful efforts by the Far Right to prevent the U.S. EPA from regulating fossil-fuel-derived CO2 and other greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act; (4) further abuse of the public trust by wealthy fossil-fuel interests and their supporters who have largely bought out both the mainstream media and our political process and who fund highly unethical and underhanded campaigns of disinformation and denial in order to deceive the public about global warming; (5) continuing decline of the middle class along with a widening of the gap between rich and poor; (6) further economic decline and stagnation in job growth, as seems assured if the concentration of political power on the Right grows; (7) future failure to reach meaningful international accords to rein in emissions of CO2 and shift the world’s economies to non-fossil-fuel energy sources; and finally (8) a clear pattern of progression or worsening of global-warming effects including a rising frequency of intense storms, flooding, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, crop failures, water scarcity and all their attendant ills, especially if in conjunction with food scarcity and rising food prices which either portend widespread famine or represent its beginning stages.

    In other words, the prerequisite for the near-future breakdown of social order in the United States might amount to nothing more than a somewhat heavier dose of exactly everything we’ve already got or are about to get. And let there be no doubt about the fact that we’re going to get it. The required stimulus could be as little as a couple of additional turns of the screw to stress society (already strained by economic circumstances and bitterly divided between Left and Right on nearly every issue) to the breaking point and explode the cohesion which since the founding of the American Republic has proved stronger than any of those forces (including the conflict over Slavery) which threatened to tear it apart. And don’t count on the military being able to restore order in that eventuality. A military dictatorship, including martial law, might just make things worse. And whose side would the military be on? The side of anti-science, irrationalism, and reality denial?

    Then can the Center possibly hold? Not if there is continued denial of man-made global warming’s reality—the same as to say that a lot of people who presently have their heads buried in the sand to the point where they’re a$$-deep in it are going to have to get their heads out of the sand or, in the end, risk losing their heads.

    Is there a better compact metaphor with which to encapsulate the essence of our “situation”? If so, it’s that we’re all in this together, and that the fragile boat we’re on, which is being increasingly slammed by the violent winds and waves unleashed by a climate system whose heat balance has been seriously disturbed and that consequently is wildly out of equilibrium, must henceforth be placed under unified command and control, on a single heading, with a single set of emergency operating procedures, until safe harbor can be attained, and that there is (or soon enough will be) no room for naysayers, deniers, and delayers.

    Perfectly sensible notions such as this one, however, are quickly spun by the delayer/ denier side into wild conspiracy theories, generally that so-called “global-warming alarmism” is part of a socialist/ communist plot—an excuse to raise taxes and redistribute wealth, for example, or cover for an organized but underhanded attempt to abolish national sovereignty and establish a one-world government under U.N. control. This is mass paranoia married to a delusion about the physical world. The people who promote it are crazy and stupid, and frequently dishonest as well, and we do the world no good to deny the fact.

    Ironically, preservation of national sovereignty and the institutions of democracy, not to mention avoidance of general war, will be more likely the sooner we all face up to the global warming problem and address it by taking strong action to rein in greenhouse emissions. Denying global warming makes all our problems much worse and reduces the chances that in the end any human freedoms or reasonable quality of life will be possible to preserve anywhere. Those nations in the grip of mass ignorance and denial—like the United States—risk marginalization and ultimately total destruction if they continue this pattern. Destruction will come from within, from without, or from both together. Resistance is futile: either get with the emerging international protocols, accords, etc. that mandate timetables for greenhouse emissions reductions or face isolation, sanctions, and condemnation as an outlaw nation. Continued emission of greenhouse gases at anything like current per-capita rates is unacceptable. Acceptance of the relevant protocols must become the principal international standard by which nations are judged. In the end, any nation engaged in continuing willful or malicious destruction of the atmospheric commons by dumping greenhouse-gas pollution into it will be taken over or taken out—forcibly internationalized or worse.

    I will close with one final observation. Professor Leibo’s central point, viz. “The stakes are… too high, and the emotional level of both sides too elevated for this [situation] not to get a whole lot more complicated and nasty” is accurate as it stands only if we accept without question each side’s own estimation of what the “stakes” are. (I encourage readers to visit his excellent blog, at http://sagethoughts.wordpress.com/ , for further illumination.) Considered objectively, however, the simple fact is that the two sides are very unequally balanced in respect to (a) the real stakes, and (b) reasons for elevation of the emotional level (such as to anger or perceived killing rage).

    What, for example, justifies the evident rage of climate deniers who e-mail death threats to climate scientists involved in the “Climategate” controversy? Is there some rationale for this behavior, or are such deniers just nutcases—perhaps maliciously stupid criminal types who are out to make trouble and have hitched themselves to the skeptic bandwagon just to go along for the ride? Perhaps all deniers are nutcases on some level? And how does the obvious anger and hate of many deniers—evident in the insulting or threatening tone of the comments they post on blogs—compare with the sublimated anger of the video under discussion (in the form of what Charles [in comment #40, seconding Jon Dee in comment #31] calls “typical, black British humor”)—humor which is not directed at anybody in particular but which is evidently intended as a forceful jab at the dangerously off-center phenomenon of climate denial in general? I have not seen the video myself, but I trust Joe Romm’s (and Bill McKibben’s) assessment that it is off the deep end and not suitable for general distribution. There is reason for anger, though, at the harm caused by denialism and deniers—such anger being evident (for example) in a CP comment of mine where I really go off at the b*stards and which can be found at http://climateprogress.org/2010/09/29/gingrich-threat-to-our-basic-way-of-life-obama-american-solutions-for-winning-the-future-aswf/#comment-298727

    In the end, though, what it comes down to is that the comparison of the “stakes” on one side of the Great Climate War to the stakes on the other is like the comparison of molehill to mountain; one weighs uncounted gigatons, the other next to nothing. On one side we have what is at best a completely silly and childish argument, like that of a six-year-old who can’t be inconvenienced to put his garbage in the recycling bin or turn off the incandescent lights when he leaves his room; on the other, we have a reasoned argument by mature adults of high intellectual capacity (including the Romms, Hansens, Gores, Solomons, Holdrens, Manns, and McKibbens among us) who understand how the world works and who have the sum of human knowledge including all of science on their side. It’s safe to say that in any impartial court where reason and science prevailed, the claims of the denier side of the argument would be summarily dismissed without further comment.

    Let’s therefore ask: what does anybody except a few wealthy special interests have to lose by control of greenhouse gases and the transitioning of the world’s economies to non-fossil-fuel (preferably renewable but including nuclear where feasible) energy sources? The answer is that on balance there is nothing to lose. In fact, we all (including skeptics and deniers, excepting paid disinformers who might be out of a job) have much to gain in the long run from such a transition. Major benefits include much-reduced future global warming, a far cleaner environment, and reliance upon domestic rather than unreliable and costly foreign sources of energy. What, on the other hand, do we have to lose by NOT controlling greenhouse gases and making the transition to clean energy? The answer is: essentially everything—which I need not describe here since the full description of the loss is given in the next-to-last paragraph of my post above, preceding this one.

  92. Nancy says:

    Franny Armstrong really thought this was funny? I didn’t watch it, but I saw a screen shot and I think it’s pathetic and tasteless.

    How sad for Bill McKibben and 350.org. They’ve worked so hard to create an international Day of Action on 10-10-10 which has such a positive message. It’s unfortunate that they share a similar name to the British 10:10 group. It’s important to ignore this lame attempt at humor and move ahead in a positive direction. There’s much to do and no time to waste!

  93. Geckko says:

    By their actions ye shall know them.

    I wonder if the disgust is a reaction to the attitude and sentiment expressed in the video, or that it is political inconvenient for those with particular political motives.

  94. Another human says:

    It seem obvious that some of those involved in the commissioning of this film by Richard Curtis are climate change deniers who are attempting to make the cllimate change lobby look like a facist conspiracy…

    Well paid celebrities and Hollywood directors are likely to believe in the American Dream above any relist view as they have by good fortune go to the top of the pyramid.

    I suggest in the future those at the bottom say some those poor souls in the pakistan floods or Bangladesh are consulted rather than Hollywood blockbuster artists… you will find they have a clue what is happening and have some sensitivity

  95. Douglas says:

    ‘I think John Dee @ 31 has a valid point: this is typical, black British humor.’ – No, it is not. Black British humour (humor doesn’t exist in Brit speak) will rip the p out of authority, cultural shibboleths, bureaucratic anality and the power hungry. It is almost unfailingly anti-authoritarian.
    This is bullying (and killing) the marginalized who don’t agree with the monolithic majority headed by the dweebish authority figures in the video. Not traditionally British at all.

  96. Anonymous says:

    #39 Wit’s End: I agree with what you say.Wish I had said it. Being hyper-polite and compromising at the very THREAT of a drop of a hat (congressional dems anyone?) is ONLY getting us a ruined planet. The rate of ecological devastation from all causes is only ACCELERATING-it certainly hasn’t slowed one iota in the last 4 years.The time to take off the gloves came and went at least 15 years ago.We are up against people who don’t care about the niceties of rational debate or the nuances and subtleties of scientific process.

  97. Wit'sEnd says:

    Thanks anon. I think the mere fact that the video is causing such hand-wringing and generating so much attention is a good thing, because almost more detrimental than the deniers – who are either profiting or ideologically incapable of seeing the truth, and aren’t going to change their position no matter what anyway – are the vast majority, in America anyway, who I deem the Ignorers. If this video causes them to sit up and take notice, fine. The science will speak for itself.

  98. Brian J says:

    97- Most people do not respond to videos by Osama bin Laden by asking, “Gee, why don’t we submit to his medieval ideology?” They ask, “Why hasn’t this asshole been killed yet?”

    You’re Osama now.

    [JR: Thanks for making my point. You equate those behind a short offensive video that was quickly taken down with the most vicious and murderous terrorist of our time -- and then you use that to smear the entire environmental movement. Your comment should be widely condemned by your side.]

  99. Wit'sEnd says:

    Haha, Brian J, that’s pretty good! Spilling fake red blood is somehow equated to plotting to massacre thousands of people? Talk about tortured logic!

  100. Doug Meserve says:

    God, I wish I could un-watch that video. This may be the first time I’ve truly felt that way.

    One of the earlier comments hit it on the head — this thing breaks some prime rules of comedy, with (a) violence against sympathetic, identified individuals (including children!), and (b) that violence coming from an authoritarian source that we’re somehow supposed to be siding with.

    I mean, the same visuals could have worked as comedy in some other context, but not here. When attempting this kind of a joke, filmmakers are always playing with fire, and it takes a special talent to pull it off — and probably some luck too. The talent was not on its game here, and the luck did not show up.

    Some have mentioned the old Monty Python sketch where people attempting to demonstrate how to hide were blown up. The minor differences there were that the victims were not really identified or sympathetic, and also the violence was relatively abstract and cartoonish. The main difference, though, is that the authoritarian source of the violence was not supposed to be on the “good” side; the whole source of the humor in that sketch is exactly that it is not.

    Here, I was even cringing when the teacher, etc. were making all the assertions I agree with about how people should be reducing their fossil-carbon output. Maybe it was partly because I knew what was coming, but I think even without the violence, my stomach still would have been turning, just because these good ideas were pushed in such an authoritarian manner.

    Yes, this plays right into the hands of the deniers, who are looking for exactly this kind of stuff to feed their conspiracy fantasies.

  101. Mike (another one) says:

    Since there have been a few comments about a generational gap and appreciation of the video I’ll give my thoughts as a Gen Y.

    I didn’t think it was all that shocking but it wasn’t funny either (and as chance would have it I was watching Blackadder this morning, so I do like British humour).
    But my main reaction was why? How was the the message from the “film” actually advanced by blowing people up? But then the messaging was pretty confused in general.

    Personally, I’m not going to get too uptight about it or worry about the exaggerated reaction from the deniers, exaggerating is what they do and in a week they’ll be onto the next story proclaiming some “scientific” paper that is the “final the nail in the coffin” for AWG etc etc.

  102. Jeff says:

    Why is it that many comments have been directed toward a conspiracy aspect when the filmmakers have actually appologised for their work? By that I mean responsibility should not be pawned off. The Bart Simpson defence of “I didn’t do it” don’t cut it.

    [JR: Some of the commenters were in error. The overwhelming majority of commenters here understand how unacceptable this video is.]

  103. Nick Palmer says:

    I think the video was well over the top. It’s true that, in Britain, such ultra black material in comedy shows has grown over recent years. I find graphically exploded bits of flesh very disturbing.

    However, the video is all about the term “NO PRESSURE”. In the UK, the term “no pressure” is used ironically to mean exactly the opposite – anyone using it is meaning that there is a tremendous amount of pressure to do the right thing. The film makers repeatedly satirise the politically correct viewpoint that everyone has a right to their view and that they should be respected at all times. They suggest that those holding deluded views about a subject that will badly affect everybody else have no right to crystallise those views into action (or inaction). They further suggest that those of us who will be affected by someone else exercising their “rights” have a corresponding right to defend ourselves against a threat.

    Freedom of speech, thought and action is rightly defended as a cornerstone of civilisation but all civilised societies recognise that there are limits to how much freedom is optimum – the limit comes where someone’s freedom of thought, speech or action badly affects somebody else’s freedom.

    In a democracy, the votes of the majority rule. The problem is the value of the system is predicated on the idea that the majority are sensible, rational, knowledgeable and are not subject to undue influences and that the results of their views, crystallised by votes and decisions, will end up being the best for the majority.

    If we have a situation like the current on where the popular perceptions of climate change science and the strategy based upon it have been manipulated by blatant propaganda, stupidity, misdirection and antiscience blogs, then what the popular view votes for may not yield optimum results.

    It’s not acceptable to limit the right to vote only to those who the system deems capable, because that system would be very vulnerable to corruption by the political establishment, so I think that the scientific establishment needs to go on the attack – they need to widely and forcefully show exactly how the denialists are distorting the truth and/or lying by omission etc. – consciously or unconsciously.

    They need to publicly humiliate the tactics of the Monckton’s the Limbaugh’s the Beck’s, the Watts’. There is an urgent need to loudly highlight the rhetorical tricks, the Gish Gallops, the repeated use of oft demolished arguments, all of which are repeated precisely because they have been proven to fool the general public. The dirty tricks need to be shown up for what they are on chat shows, on posters, on adverts. The bad actors need to be identified.

    We have a powerful right to defend ourselves against the stupidity or evil of those who would put our whole civilisation at risk. If we show that we don’t respect them while doing it, then so be it. Let the irresponsible, deluded, dangerous, gullible types feel disrespected. They’ll get over it. If they continue to poison public perceptions much longer, the eco-systems that support us all may not get over it. On balance, whose need is greater?

  104. Jeff says:

    Thank you for the response JR…. Jeff

  105. Bob says:

    Why are the eco-fascists removing comments from this page.

    Can’t take the heat eh? (hahahahahahaha)

    [JR: Like most climate websites, this is moderated, so folks like you can't just come here and fill it up with your disinformation and anti-science, anti-human rhetoric. I'm making some exceptions so folks can see what we're up against, in case they didn't know. Only people like you would laugh at what is happening now and the worse to come (assuming policymakers keep listening to you all).]

  106. Michael H Anderson says:

    “kepp the comments civil” – cowardly remarks like that tell me clearly who will win in the new war against Fascism, and it won’t be you or your fellow zombies.

  107. You FLEW from Monterrey MX to Boston MA ?
    Why didn’t you take a bus ?

  108. John Mason says:

    Bob says:
    October 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    “Why are the eco-fascists removing comments from this page.

    Can’t take the heat eh? (hahahahahahaha)”

    It might be because we understand that a functioning environment is kinda essential to Mankind. That is not fascism – it is common sense.

    Cheers – John

  109. Neven says:

    I didn’t like Four Weddings and A Funeral.
    I didn’t like Love Actually.
    I didn’t like The Age of Stupid.

    Now I know why.

  110. Graham Brothers says:

    Blowing up children in classrooms.
    Are you guys the eco-taliban?

    [JR: Apparently you can't tell the difference between 1) an offensive video and a large group of actual country-destroying murderers and 2) the people denouncing that video and those country-destroying killers. Thanks for coming here and making my point better than I ever could.]

  111. John Mason says:

    Graham Brothers says:
    October 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Blowing up children in classrooms.
    Are you guys the eco-taliban?

    Huh? We have condemned the video. Perhaps your basic literacy skills don’t span that far?

    For f**k’s sake….

    Cheers – John

  112. Heraclitus says:

    Nick Palmer, I think you are wrong about what the film-makers were saying. You suggest they are satarising the view that everyone has a right to say whatever they want and instead imply that we have a right to defend ourselves. This is basically the literalist view that hoards of commenters are taking and it is the polar opposite of the intended message.

    My take on the film is that they were aiming to hold a mirror up to the idea of ‘ecofascism’ and deliberately juxtapose this with the 10:10 campaign, about as benign a movement as you could find. I agree though with the sense in which ‘no pressure’ is used, as meaning yes, there is pressure, but the absurdist vision they give is to show that this is not the source of that pressure. It is not even a metaphor for that defence, indeed it is saying, I think, that in reality we have no means of defence, and shouldn’t look for any, other than an appeal to people’s decency.

    There is little else in your post I disagree with though, so maybe I am misreading your position.

  113. Roger says:

    Great thread! What’s that saying they have in the ad biz…?

    Re Obama’s remarks today about our need to move to clean energy…
    He’s clearly got the threat of climate change in mind (the code phrase is “our planet”). (My brother called me to say “Is this the speech you’ve been waiting for, Roger?” Answer: “No, but a step closer!”You can hear at the whitehouse.gov website, at least for now…!)

    Now we need to get him to turn up the volume on this message–to become not just the Commander-in-Chief, but also the “Communicator-in-Chief” regarding what we Americans (and citizens of Eaarth) have at stake.

    Anyone within a week’s walk, drive, train ride (or flight) from Washington, DC has time to join us in front of the White House at 1PM on Sunday, October 10th, for our big “White House Work Party!” So come!

    This event will be the centerpeace of numerous events in Washington being organized by a coalition of climate-concerned citizens and groups.One can find them all at the 350.org website: search “Washington” in the appropriate place after clicking on “Find an Action…”

    Our ask, at the White House Work Party (and the more people who come, the better) will be for President Obama to lead by example, by greening up the White House, and ALL US property where he has executive powers to do so–whether buildings, vehicles, or whatever.

    We are also asking the president to lead by getting out in front of FF-lead, misinformed Americans! He needs to speak frankly about where we are now and where we need to be in order to regain a coveted US position of both technological and moral leadership relating to energy and climate change!

    So, come to DC on 10,10 and join the party. It’s your future, and your childrens’ futures that are hanging in balance. Do we want them to enjoy “milk and honey” (as we do now) or “hell and high water” for generations to come? As mentioned in earlier comments, folks are going to start getting less and less ‘polite’ the longer we wait to act!

    More details on the 10.10 WHWP at http://www.350.org/en/node/17165.

    Warm regards,

    Roger

  114. Jimbo says:

    Heraclitus says:
    October 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    But that’s the point Abe, the threat isn’t veiled because it’s not a threat. No-one can genuinely interpret it as a threat (I say this of course in the full knowledge that some will spin it as a threat and many will genuinely believe this spin), the message is very clearly something else. I think that message is complex and unsettling.

    Do kids think like you do? Are you a kid?

  115. Jimbo says:

    Many people on this comment thread are thinking like adults and make the mistake of assuming children think the same way. They generally don’t. Kids are well known to be a ‘CRUEL’ group who have not yet developed ‘full’ empathy, are naive, and like to bully – sometimes to extremes. This is why, IMHO, the video is potentially very dangerous.

  116. Nick Palmer says:

    @Heraclitus #114

    I admit I projected a bit by suggesting what the film makers intended. I am, however, a Brit who has seen a lot of Richard Curtis’s stuff and British satire and black humour too, dating from the 60′s onwards. I might be wrong but will be a little surprised if I’m not close to the target.

    I hope Richard Curtis comes out with a statement as to what he intended to do.

  117. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Micky D… No, this is what greens would call a stupid attempt to get attention by a few who didn’t bother to do any homework before releasing their little film. They sure got their attention. And they likely killed any potential good their group might have of accomplished.

  118. Richard says:

    PS to my poast @120: Nick Palmer @104, with his commentary on freedom and democracy (all good, unless you are deluded enough to disagree with righteous Nick, in which case you must not be heard) – perhaps that post encapsulates more than any other what I’m talking about. (oh, along with the bloke who thinks it’s be great if “deniers” heads really did explode). Even when you are discussing a monumental screwup in the PR and communication stakes, you just keep on at it, don’t you?

  119. Richard says:

    To clarify my post @119, which refers to an earlier post @120: The post that was originally @120 has been moderated out. I don’t know why.

  120. Leif says:

    So where is the violence? Joe often warns us readers on CP to put our head in a vice lest it explode” upon reading some of the dribble from the tin hats. Our media continually bombards the population with stories of car crashes, drug wars, murder and mayhem, starvation and more. In fact a bit of violence is almost a prerequisite to news coverage. Contrast this with the coverage of the quite probable “End of Civilization,” “Global Warming.” Can you think of a less treating term? One degree warming in 50 years. Another one by 2050. BFD. Sixteen feet of rain in Pakistan in 5 days, 20 million people displaced, thousand dead, food crops destroyed, winter coming on… it’s the weather. Unprecedented heat waves in Russia destroying third of the wheat crop, nothing to export, more thousands dead, winter coming on… it’s the weather. Arctic ice volume down by 2/3 in 30 years… it’s the weather. The largest extinction event in 65 million years… it’s the weather or something! One degree warming? No problem.

    So I ask again . Where is the violence?
    What does it take for humanity to “SEE”?

  121. DSKS says:

    In response to the “this is British humour” explanation:

    Yes, dark humour is popular to me and my countrymen, and the subtler the satire the better. The movie is actually quite funny, but therein lies the problem from a British mindset POV; it works only when one presumes that its actual target of satire (rather than the intended target) is the green movement (and thus the people that actually produced the movie). This is why the movie is being deemed an own goal by the majority of British respondents; it skewers its own, and in a highly effective and scathing manner.

    As others have said, had this been produced by a skeptics group they would have deserved kudos for a palpable hit on the green movement.

    But the movie was funny. That bit where Gillian Anderson gets blown up in the sound booth… vintage Python right there.

    But yeah, time for 10:10 to pick the ball out of their own net and try and find an equaliser sooner rather than later.

  122. Last year I attended the premier of “Age of Stupid”, the movie that is set in a future, destroyed, world with the main protagonist looking back at archive film and wondering why this generation stood back and let it happen. At the end of show, I was struck by the silence of the audience. “That was terrible” seemed to be the collective thought, “What on earth can I do?” That question hung in my mind; why was this such a difficult issue for people? Why was the level of action so inadequate in face of the enormous size of the consequences? While the makers of the film moved on to found the 10:10 campaign, an attempt to get people to sign up for voluntary reductions to bring pressure onto the Government to act, I started to read around the subject. And got more and more confused. Surely no one gets up in the morning and thinks, “I’m off to pollute the planet and destroy the future wellbeing of every one who follows me?” Then it struck me: we didn’t mean to be in this position at all. It was all a silly accountancy error made 500 years ago.

    The way we account for our economic activity is dependent upon a system called double-entry book-keeping. It is a system made up by Italian accountants in the 15th century and changed the way man was able to think about business activity. Given the dominant world view they would have had about the relationship between man and planet it is no surprise that they didn’t realise there was a cost to using the planet’s resources and services. That might have worked when there was a few hundred million of us but with near 7 billion now it is blatantly apparent that a system based on perpetual economic growth by consuming a finite planet is a physical impossibility.

    It is fairly easy to get people to agree with the vision of sustainability; who doesn’t want a world that is delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just with clean air, water, soil and power? One that is economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed? The objection always is “who is going to pay?” The only answer to that is “all of us who cause the problem”, which, effectively, means all of us who use money.

    The ideological struggle is not between capitalism and socialism, it is between those who understand that our children will pay heavily and those who are comfortable with the status quo and want our children to take their chances: even if those chances are empty oceans, barren soil, killer heat-waves and fierce storms.

    The quickest way to achieve sustainability would be to change the way we account for our economic activity so that we recognise nature to be a store of capital rather than income and redesign the system so that people can make money out of restocking oceans, protecting and replenishing forests or preventing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Getting people to understand that is a difficult task and the hysterical reactions of the “do nothing” brigade gives ample testimony.

    The 10:10 debacle could have been avoided by a simple pre-test of the advert but I suspect that, like many a marketing director of sub-rate compaies, such a move would have been an “insult to the creastive integrity” of the idea. I am also amazed that given the campaign is part of the global one sponsored by Bill McKibben, they didn’t bother to have the courtesy to tell him (or even better, show him) the ad before release. The advert is a feeble one that will, I fear, do more to put ordinary people off than to engage them.

    As a product of my research after seeing “Age of Stupid”, I wrote and published a book called “How to be a Humankind Superhero” which draws on the myth of Hercules to provide people with 12 areas in which they can act to really bring around massive change. I thought long and hard about the title, because I believe the world we are trying to create is one where we will each regard each other as heroes: not one where we go around calling each other stupid or threatening to blow them up.

    It is not going to be easy to achieve but with a bit more heroic effort and bit less egotistical, maybe we will get there.

  123. Leif says:

    Good one Harold, @ 123. … “maybe we will get there.”

  124. Jeff says:

    To Mr. Moderator. Did I say something rude or offensive or in any way objectionable such that I was removed? I am a new visitor to your site and was wondering about the rules of conduct… was I out of line? Thank you in advance.

    Sincerely… Jeff

    [JR: In general, I don't print posts that mis-characterize large numbers of people concerned about the climate.]

  125. Anonymous says:

    Very stupid video, but as a controversy a tempest in a teapot: some film makers create an offensive and stupid video. Well in real life many people apparently think that it is reasonable to deny science and fight for the right to pollute.

  126. GeeWillikers says:

    Hey Bill, lighten up. Hey everybody, lighten up. Jeepers! You know, the video was funny and was poking fun, in a subtle way, at the eco-nuts too.

    We’ve gotten all so darned sincere lately. Is it part of the “I’m OK, You’re OK” mutual affirmation meme? Have we become so incapable of recognizing metaphor that every concept must be presented in legalese or in dry policy analysis format lest it be misinterpreted or branded as tasteless? Have we all become tight-lipped puritanical grandfather pulpit pounders?

    OK, maybe it was TOO subtle for most audiences today. Maybe us old grandfather types just don’t get metaphors. Maybe us old liberal scaredy-cats are easily suckered by right-wing blog-o-nuts…

    Or maybe we should just lighten up and not be all so goll-darned sincere.

  127. “I just climbed off an airplane at Boston’s Logan Airport. The day began in Monterrey, Mexico…”

    Hmmm. Not a good opener for an article by a climate change activist. Just saying.

    But as for everything else in the article, and JR’s comments: agreed.

    [JR: Bill is one of the climate activists who most practices what he preaches. That said, I really don't think that flying to spread the message and help organize his 350.org campaign is an issue at all. Nobody said we all have to go to zero now. Yes, air travel is almost certainly the biggest contributor of most individuals who do even a moderate amount of travel. But absent a broad global effort to reduce emissions, the actions of an individual are virtually irrelevant. So if you are trying to organize a broad global effort, I don't think you can really be legitimately gain for the air travel. I am 100% confident that if the nation and the world actually get on the sustainable path, Bill will have lower emissions than most.]

  128. Its interesting to read the comments above talking about the “sides” of the climate debate. Because everywhere else but in the US, there are no sides. There is no real debate. The only “deniers” are science ignoramuses who don’t understand the meaning of scientific consensus, or who have financial ties to the coal and oil industries.

    My view is that we need a new terminology. Not “climate change deniers” but “science ignoramuses”. Because that’s what they are.

    As for the 10:10 movie, it made me feel ill. People will make mistakes in getting the message out. Ignore them, and let their foolishness fall away. The key issues right now are building community, learning sustainability and equity, and developing human unity and an ability to solve climate issues globally, independent of government interference.

    Just a bit of common-sense from an organic farming mum down in Middle-earth :-)

  129. Weird Science says:

    “Just a bit of common-sense from an organic farming mum down in Middle-earth :-)”

    Tell it to NIWA-

    “NIWA has formally stated that, in their opinion, they are not required to use the best available information nor to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any given time. They don’t think that forms any part of their statutory obligation to pursue “excellence”.”

    http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2010/10/observations-on-niwas-statement-of-defence/